It is important to check your bike before each ride, especially if it is to be used on a longer ride. Creating a check list is a good way to systematically ensure you check your bike correctly and you have all you may need for a safe and enjoyable ride.
Small First Aid Kit – pack the essentials in your saddle bag or handlebar bag.
Safety – important to always wear a cycle helmet when riding, sunglasses or other eye protection are recommended, ensure your bike has reflectors and lighting fitted, wear sun cream and lip balm for sun and wind protection.
Security – if the bike is to be left unattended at any time while out on your ride take a lock with you. Cable locks and shackle locks normally come with carrying brackets. Also take care with any parts that can be removed easily like the front wheel, saddle/post and lights.
Repairs – it’s good to have a pump, patch repair kit or spare tube and tools / multi tools for basic repairs. Make sure you know how to repair a flat tyre.
Emergency – have your driving license or another form of ID, plus an emergency contact, any important medical information and some money.
Clothing – wear bright clothing for improved visibility, carry or wear a jacket for rain and wind protection and wear clothing that wicks moisture will keep you dry and comfortable.
Comfort - padded gloves or mitts to reduce pressure and vibration, bike shoes with firm soles to make pedaling more efficient and bike shorts with a padded lining to make cycling more comfortable.
Directions – if travelling further afield or a new route pack a map or good directions or your phone!
Energy – on longer rides you will need to refuel, so you will need to drink either use a bottle and cage that fixes on to the frame or a hydration back pack. Water, energy drinks and energy bars will help maintain your energy or pack a little extra cash for a snack stop / coffee break.
Inspection – always check the tyres are inflated as the tyre sidewall markings, check tyre treads for wear or other damage, check the brakes are working smoothly, evenly and not rubbing. Check the brake pads are not excessively worn and brake cables not frayed or split. Ensure wheels are secure, especially if quick release levers are fitted. Ensure all nuts / bolts are tight, as per manual torques. Finally, ride the bike slowly to inspect all is OK with the bike, brakes and gear shifting before leaving.
The above should help ensure you enjoy your ride, you are ready for the unexpected and can avoid a long walk home!
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